Californians who have not paid rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic are receiving a major lifeline from the state and could see more in the near-future.
Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed the state will cover all owed rent that has added up since the beginning of the pandemic.
The state has $5.2 billion from federal stimulus packages to use to pay off late rent.
Newsom advisor Jason Elliot told the Associated Press that the Federal funds appear to be more than enough to cover all unpaid rent.
However, the state has not distributed those funds in an expedited manner.
According to a report from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the state has disbursed only $32 million out of the $490 million in rental assistance requests through May 31.
That total does not encompass the rental assistance programs that are run in several cities and counties throughout the state.
“It’s challenging to set up a new, big program overnight,” Asm. David Chiu (D–San Francisco), chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, told the AP. “It has been challenging to educate millions of struggling tenants and landlords on what the law is.”
Along with the state’s ability to pay off late rent, legislators are also reportedly considering extending the eviction moratorium past the June 30 deadline.
That decision is part of the ongoing budget negotiations between the legislature and the Newsom administration.
If the moratorium is extended, that would give renters more time to receive the state’s rental assistance and avoid an eviction.
It would also raise the specter that evictions could arrive – or be delayed again – right as Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a recall election.